(EDGE) The body of a 25-year-old man was found in an alley in Tampa, Fla. last week, making it the third gay man to be killed in the area since December, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Times.

Donte Lampkins' sister dropped him off in downtown Tampa for a doctor's appointment last Tuesday. Police confirmed to the newspaper he bought a bus ticket around 9:30 a.m. to return to his home and called his mother at 10:30 a.m. But Lampkins didn't return home or show up for work the following day.

Related: Local Bartender Chance Taffer Dies at 47

Lampkins was found dead last Thursday in an alley and investigators said he suffered "upper body trauma," according to Fox 13 News. The Tampa Bay Times writes "early evidence suggests Lampkins was shot."

His death marks the third openly gay man killed in central Tampa since December, the newspaper reports. Tampa Police Spokesman Stephen Hegarty said authorities don't believe the deaths are connected, however.

William Leslie MGoff, a 53-year-old nurse, was stabbed to death in his home last month and police have made an arrest in the case. Cops also told the newspaper they are close to arresting three suspects in connection to the beating death of William Denham, a 53-year-old social worker. No arrests have been made in Lampkin's death.

Lampkin's family believes he was murdered because he is gay.

"He was him. He was himself," his sister Devada Carlton told Fox 13 News. "He was outspoken. His sexuality meant everything to him. It's either 'be who you are or don't be no one at all.'"

Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times, Carlton said her brother was "so joyous and could put a smile on your face no matter how bad your day was."

Police told Fox 13 News they have yet to confirm if the murder was a hate crime.

"To have something that would qualify as a hate crime, first of all, we would need to know who did it, we'd need to know something about the motive and a little bit more about exactly what happened," Hegarty said.

A GoFundMe has been launched for Lampkins' memorial service. Click here to donate.

Watch Fox 13 News' report on the story below.


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS